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In conversation with Pegasus Group


In the lead up to our Annual Conference on 6th October, we caught up with Richard Cook, Senior Director – Economics at Pegasus Group, one of our conference sponsors.

Thank you for sponsoring the IED Annual Conference. Why did you decide to do so?

“Pegasus Group has been sponsoring the IED’s conferences since 2017 and it’s nice to be supporting its first face-to-face event since the pandemic. It will be good to catch up with new and existing IED members and to hear the latest thinking around issues such as the levelling up agenda and climate change, and how economic development fits into the debate.”

The title of this year’s conference is ‘Supporting the Development and Levelling Up of Local Economies’. What does that mean to you?

I think the first thing that comes into my mind when you talk about the levelling up of local economies is the issue of achieving more balanced growth across the country, which has become even more of a challenge in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis. The range of topics being discussed at the conference will make for a really interesting debate on how the theory behind levelling up can be put into practice.” 

What aspects of the conference are you especially looking forward to?

“I’ll have to give a plug here to the session that Pegasus Group is sponsoring, looking at the impact of health on regional economic performance. Addressing health inequalities is absolutely vital if the UK is to become more productive and I’m looking forward to hearing the Northern Health Science Alliance speak about this. In addition, the chance to hear from so many different people who work in economic development is a big selling point for me and I can’t think of any other event where this is possible.” 

What do you think the next 18 months holds for economic development professionals?

“From a Pegasus Group perspective, I think we’ll be working with more of our clients to consider the health and social impacts of their schemes and the benefits they can bring to areas in this respect. Councils, in particular, are becoming more interested in this. For economic development professionals as a whole, I think the next 18 months are going to be very much focused on looking at how areas can benefit from the levelling up agenda and also coping with the cost of living crisis.”

What services does Pegasus Group provide that may be able to help them?

“The economics team at Pegasus Group has a wide range of experience spanning a number of sectors including housing, retail, logistics, student accommodation and renewable energy. We regularly work with clients and stakeholders to assess the socio-economic benefits of schemes and we’re also able to assess the demand for certain types of development, such as older persons’ accommodation. Undertaking health impact assessments has been a strong growth area for us over the last 12-18 months, with schemes increasingly needing to identify the positive and negative impacts associated with their development. I’ll say the same thing about our expertise in producing equality impact assessments, which are starting to become more common as part of planning applications. This gives a flavour of what we do at Pegasus Group and, given the experience we have in the team, we’re well placed to help with many issues relating to economic development and planning.”

Tickets for the IED Annual Conference, ‘Supporting the Development and Levelling Up of Local Economics’, on 6th October, are available to IED member and non-members here.